The Best Countertop Ice Maker on the Market Today
Whether you own a restaurant or have a home bar, running out of ice is a surefire way to spoil your drinks and your mood. With the help of a high-efficiency countertop ice maker, you never have to worry about running low on ice. Known for cranking out loads of rock solid ice in a short period of time, countertop ice makers are excellent for creating ice in a pinch.
Despite what most assume, not all countertop ice makers are the same. In fact, there are several different varieties of countertop ice makers that differ in terms of appearance and function. While some ice makers make full-sized ice cubes, others make flake ice or pellet ice. What kind of ice you want to produce will depend on your restaurant’s specific needs.
In this guide, our experts break down all the various countertop ice makers on the market today. With their help, you can get a better impression of what goes into making an ice maker purchasing decision and why. So, without further delay, let’s get right into it.
Countertop ice makers are the ultimate in terms of convenience. Although they are small and compact, they are mighty. When equipped with a large capacity storage bin, they can produce a whopping 500 lbs. of ice or higher within a 24-hour span of time. This is truly staggering when you consider how small these little machines are.
When deciding on which countertop ice maker to buy, you need to keep in mind three important factors: capacity, aesthetics, and ice shape. Although most assume that all ice cubes are the same, this is far from the truth. In restaurants all around the world, it is common to find five or six unique varieties of ice, each with its share of drawbacks and benefits. They are:
- Full ice cubes
- Half ice cubes
- Pellet ice
- Flake ice
- Gourmet ice
- Nugget ice
For instance, flake ice is the ideal choice if your establishment serves treats for hot days such as slushies, smoothies, or sno-cones. On the other hand, gourmet ice is ideal for cocktails and full ice cubes are great for soft drinks and filling coolers.
Other considerations include the storage bin capacity and the ice maker’s aesthetic appearance. Both factors will come down to you making an honest judgment regarding what it is you need. If you have a modern-looking restaurant, you will want a chrome or stainless steel countertop ice maker. If you serve hundreds of chilled drinks throughout the day, you will likely want an ice maker will a storage bin of over 100 lbs.
Ivation Ice Maker
Available at Walmart, the Ivation Portable High Capacity countertop ice maker is a brilliant choice for small-scale restaurateurs or for those who operate a home bar. It is super compact in its build and very intuitive by design. Unlike other ice makers, this unit is equipped with a front-facing LED lighting system that makes it easy to control and adjust.
Since the Ivation Ice Maker contains a meager 2.8-liter water reservoir and a 26.5 lbs. daily ice production capacity, this is not recommended for big-time restaurants or bars. However, it is ideal for small dining establishments that do not serve chilled drinks on a regular basis. Sure, it is not as flashy as some competitors but it sure is one of the best countertop ice makers in terms of absolute value.
If you need an entry-level countertop unit without breaking the bank, the Ivation Ice Maker if your best bet. It is a simple, no-nonsense ice making solution for home and commercial bars that need to supply a few dozen iced drinks per day. Plus, its ability to alternate between three different varieties of ice gives it the edge over other units that are fixed to one production setting.
Igloo Ice Maker
The Igloo Ice Maker is a 26 lbs. freestanding ice machine that is small enough to fit on just about any countertop. The Igloo is a true innovator in the ice making industry, as it features several key features that are absent in rival units. For example, it has the unique ability to recycle water so there is no need to drain melted ice. This way, you do not need to keep filling its water reservoir either.
Our favorite feature of the Igloo Ice Maker is the fact that it comes in a sleek jet black color. While most other countertop ice makers are stainless steel or a shade of white, this ice maker stands out from the crowd. Although it is priced at a budget-friendly level, it has the aesthetic of a luxurious restaurant-grade ice maker.
We recommend the Igloo Ice Maker for home power users who need lots of ice on a moment’s notice, or small-time restaurant owners. While this machine won’t be able to supply you with an endless all-day stream of ice cubes, it can certainly get the job done in a pinch. Plus, it looks elegant enough to complement any kitchen or bar out there.
Avalon Bay Ice Maker
The Avalon Bay Ice Maker is quite similar in design and performance to its Igloo Ice Maker counterpart. However, it is priced at a slightly more attractive level for those looking to save a few bucks. Our favorite Avalon Bay unit is the AB-ICE26R which comes in a bright, energetic red color with white details throughout. In our books, this alone makes it worth checking out.
With the Avalon Bay Ice Maker, you won’t ever have to worry about darting out to the store for emergency ice again. This is because the Avalon Bay is renowned for its ability to pump out crisp ice cubes in short periods of time. It is the ultimate choice in terms of portability too, as it weighs a mere 20 lbs. This makes it ideal for the office, home, restaurant bar, or even camping trips.
The Avalon Bay AB-ICE26R provides everything you need in a budget-friendly ice maker. As far as countertop ice makers go, it is truly one of the best in its class. It is intuitive, portable, and affordable. And to top it all off, it looks awesome too. If you want a hassle-free countertop ice maker, the Avalon Bay is the easy choice.
Magic Chef Ice Maker
Available at the Home Depot, the Magic Chef Ice Maker is a compact ice making solution appropriate for a variety of uses. With over four color selections to choose from, it is among the best countertop ice makers in terms of customizability. The Magic Chef Ice Maker even comes in an awesome camouflage pattern which makes it ideal for use while camping.
Like most other countertop units, the Magic Chef can produce 27 lbs. of fresh ice every day. This makes it a great choice if you need a moderate amount of ice production. We recommend checking out the Magic Chef Ice Maker if you need an ice machine for casual usage at home, for cafeteria use, or for a restaurant located in a cold climate.
With over 650 positive reviews on the Home Depot website, you know you can trust this model. Many happy customers have raved that the Magic Chef Ice Maker is easy to clean, easy to use, a breeze to install, and generally well designed. At such an affordable price, we were skeptical at first. However, this ice maker exceeded all our expectations.
Brought to you by SnoMaster, the ZBC 15 is a great choice for more serious power users. By countertop standards, its 33 lbs. production capacity ranks at the top of its class. Although this is reflected in its price point, which is roughly twice that of its competitors. The drawback to the ZBC 15 is that it comes in a tinted stainless-steel finish which was a bit of an eye sore to us.
Overall, however, the ZBC 15 is a great crossover unit between home use and restaurant use. We encourage checking out this unit, as well as other heavy-duty SnoMaster models, if you intend to open a small-scale restaurant that serves no less than one hundred iced drinks a day. For anything less, this unit might be overkill.
There you have it! Now that you are an expert in all things related to countertop ice makers, you can confidently go forward and purchase your first ice machine. However, keep in mind that what might be ideal for some is less-than-ideal for others. Before making an impulse decision, be mindful of how much ice you will need, what variety of ice your guest’s want, and what it might look like on top of your counter.